Thursday, June 10, 2004

No one gets out awake
"It would be very odd," said James Fenton in a lecture on poetry a few years ago, "to go to a concert hall and discover that the pianist on offer wasn't any good at all, in the sense that he couldn't actually play the piano. But in poetry this is an experience we've learnt to take in our stride." No wonder there are pleas to hand the whole thing over to the professionals. If poets can't be trusted with their own work, the argument goes, then actors must take over.
Poetry readsings as read by poets

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Recently spotted
...many reviewers, whose highest endorsement for a translation tends to be that it is “seamless.” If I may attempt to translate the damnation barely concealed in their faint praise, I think they really mean that the translator has, with proper humility, made herself or himself “invisible,” a punishing goal that is desirable only if we are held personally responsible for the Tower of Babel and all its dire consequences for our species.

Edith Grossman on translating Living to Tell the Tale by Garcia Marquez.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I've known professorships lost over that..
Still on the topic of Palestine, Mark at Jews-sans-frontieres isn't happy about academic fraudsters getting free Guardian columns.
Tragic Rafah
Aziza Abu Ghali is exhausted by her fury and can barely stand. "My husband is 90 years old and has nowhere to sleep. The Jews are just demolishing our houses. I was shouting at the bulldozer driver: 'Don't you have children?' They kill our sons and put us in the morgue. We are praying to Allah to show them the suffering that they show us.

I don't know what good accounts like this do for me. I know what's happening out there but it just highlights my impotence. Last weeks Channel 4 documentary by the incompetent Saira Shah at least showed all. I even saw the very school I visited when I was there. Oh well, watch and read.

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